It’d be easiest to just say, sucks to be them, but it sucks for a lot more people when the Texas journalism job market is going to be flooded with cast-offs. In situations like this, the best you can hope for is that most didn’t expect to stay in those jobs long and have other options, and to not to run into any of those who weren’t so inspired. Or lucky.
This movie is beyond awesome. It’s like pre-Madonna Guy Ritchie doing a zombie movie. The advertisements make fun of it being a “rom com zom” (romantic comedy with zombies) flick, but it works in ways I really wasn’t expecting. None of the actors will be especially familiar to non-British audiences (title character actor and co-writer Simon Pegg had a bit role in Band of Brothers, but the rest of his work has been in British comedy TV shows) but everyone works out well, just like the plot and dialogue.
Though it’s mostly limited to art-house theatres right now, it’ll probably clean up on DVD and make a pile of cash. It should be the No. 1 movie in America right now. The actors in Resident Evil: Apocalypse wish they could have been in Shaun of the Dead.
Trivia note: British and former colony people typically say “zed” when they mean the letter Z. Keep that in mind.
I did get an e-mail from Mark Jacobs about that report, with an indication that I didn’t have all the facts. I said he’d be welcome to send me more, but he didn’t get back to me. It might be too late to matter, now.
Chuck Palahniuk’s fan site warns, “you should show up at least an hour early if you want a seat or a decent place to stand. Make no mistakes, Chuck packs the house.” They aren’t kidding. Chuck is on a tour promoting the paperback version of his newest fiction work, “Diary,” and came to the Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum in Austin. (For those coming from The Cult, the Arboretum is a large shopping area in northwest Austin along U.S. 183/Research Boulevard where all the shops are surrounded and canopied by huge trees.)
The guy’s t-shirt with the Kurt Vonnegut definition of “granfalloon” fit the night well. Thankfully, most people were on their best behavior. The grand hall of the store had been cleared by staff for Chuck fans, with the green “Fiction” sign hanging over Chuck’s head the whole time.
Continue reading Chuck Palahniuk, Austin, 9-24…
Got to shake hands with Chuck Palahniuk and walk out with his signature on two of his books.
Got to see Shaun of the Dead at a midnight show with hip Austin kids.
Someone was deciding that I should have an awesome day today, and I’m not sure it was me, because I sure wasn’t planning it when I woke up this morning.
I’ll write about it tomorrow. Time for bed.
In part, I know how bad it could have been. I posted this story on SA/GBS earlier this week, and have since told it (abbreviated) to my editors. This was right before my managing editor dropped my annual performance review checklist on my desk with high marks. (woot.)
Continue reading Why I like my job…
I’d blame Costik for writing densely, but I’ve been known to be at least as dense. His report on “Building Massively Multiplayer Games on a Budget.” (Wasn’t this the topic of Todd Coleman’s presentation last year?)
It was yet another AGC panel I didn’t attend. Turns out, I didn’t miss much. Sayeth Costik:
How do you develop an MMG on a budget? Well, one way is to inherit a product somebody else kills (Meridian 59); another is to try to build a product on a large budget, fail at launch, and wind up with a marginal one (WWII Online); another is to stick with text (Skotos); and another is to find some kind of angel funding and eat a lot of rice (Puzzle Pirates).
Next year, AGC is definitely going to have to plumb the depths for some new material, or we’re just going to hear more kvetching about all the seminars being “rehashed MMOG crap.”
Thankfully, other people have done the legwork for me on the rest of what I wanted to talk about. Ubiq has summaries of the two panels he was in, with all-too-due props to Daniel James of Puzzle Pirates, who wore a pirate hat the whole conference and was hilarious every minute. (He even used the “Massively-multiplayer online “Arrr”-PG” line to describe his game).
Ubiq linked to Aleks Krotoski’s bit on the “Design Risks We Should Be Taking” conference, which I thought was worth pointing out, mainly for the following:
Koster did a commendable job trying to throw in some really excellent and sometimes ridiculous propositions into the mix, but the panellists were too busy dissecting their latest product within the niche, in niche language, that Raph’s suggestions were lost. My inner dreams of a-broader-market-by-design were dashed against the proverbial virtual rocks. I wanted to find out more about games that can help us solve the puzzle for the cure for cancer, teach us how to play a musical instrument or work like the extra-terrestrial beacon device SETI @ home, not about how Shadowbane related to World of Warcraft or Dark Age of Camelot. Blah blah blah.
For context: Raph Koster, who was moderating the panel, actually launched into a free-associating spiel at the tail end of the panel, suggesting that game designers should look for ways of accomplishing those goals, namely cure cancer, teach people to play a musical instrument and do SETI@Home. And end terrorism.
I was reassured later that this was “the real Raph Koster,” unfettered by any preconceived notions about what games can be made to do, or even what they should do, like be fun to play.
To the F13 thread that’s still going on, where people are answering Raph’s panel question about what kind of game they’d make for $50 million:
If you went and blew $50 million on a MMOG, I would laugh at you.
To Scott: LOL.
Leadership is knowing who to send to cover for you when you can’t make it to your lecture about leadership. I was expecting Gordon Walton yesterday at ACC’s lecture, but Craig Fryar (biz-dev VP at Online Alchemy, before that game czar at Apple, then later worked at Interplay) and Kevin Gline (CEO of Knockabout Games, before that WildTangent, Activision and Cinematronics/Maxis South) said Gordon was on the West Coast, “so he says.”
Turned out to be real impressive guys with a lot of good things to say about communication, being accountable and taking on responsibility before officially given authority as key traits to being a leader.
Continue reading On Leadership…
It’s been almost a week since the conference, though I figured not too many media types would get into the presentation by Mike Goslin and Joe Schochet of Disney’s VR Studio as much as I did.
Toontown Online sometimes gets overlooked in the MMOG universe, simply because “it’s for kids.” But as Mike and Joe reminded me, much of what was made for kids (their target audience is age 6 to 12, and the median age is right about 11) made Toontown uniquely fun, at least as much so for adults.
Continue reading Lessons from Toontown…